Karen Bakker

Karen Bakker

Speaker Profile

Karen Bakker is an author, researcher, and entrepreneur known for her work on digital transformation, environmental governance, and sustainability. She is a Fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, a Guggenheim Fellow, a past Annenberg Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences; she earned her PhD at Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She currently leads the Smart Earth Project, which mobilizes the tools of the Digital Age to address some of the most pressing problems of the Anthropocene.

Karen’s research and public speaking cover a broad range of topics, including: environmental sustainability (climate change, water security, economic governance, machine learning/AI applications to sustainability, and ESG); sustainable innovation and business management (social impact startups, women in tech, leadership, integral coaching); and science communication. With significant experience in the public and private sectors as well as academia, she is a certified workplace coach, has served as a policy advisor to organizations at the forefront of digital innovation on environmental issues, including the OECD, Digital Research Alliance of Canada, the National Research Council, the International Institute for Sustainable Development and UNESCO.

Her most recent book  The Sounds of Life: How Digital Technology is Bringing Us Closer to the Worlds of Animals and Plants, shares fascinating and surprising stories of nonhuman sound, interweaving insights from technological innovation and traditional knowledge. Featured in The Guardian, and praised in ScienceNew Scientist and Psychology Today (to name a few), Karen’s research focuses on advancing regenerative sustainability and environmental justice through mobilizing the tools of the Digital Age to address the most pressing challenges of the Anthropocene.



    Ideas Podcast: Sounds of Life, Karen Bakker The Sounds of Life The natural world teems with remarkable conversations, many beyond human hearing range. Scientists are using groundbreaking digital technologies to uncover these astonishing sounds, revealing vibrant communication among our fellow creatures across th... Read More
    elephant in a forest Listening to the tree of life Listening to nature is an ancient art. But for most of human history, our ability to listen to other species was constrained. Humans are unable to hear many of the myriad sounds made by other species. Read More